Hidden Meanings in Congo Music
Viewed through the lens of music, the Congo presents a stark contrast. From the ravages of the slaving Portuguese, to King Leopold's virtual slave state in the late 19th century, through the monumental corruption and ruthless oppression of the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko that ended in 1997, this African heartland has known a history of unrelieved brutality and sadness. And yet, its cities have produced some of the most innovative and ebullient popular music the continent has known in the past century. Beginning in the 1950s, when Congolese music began to be distributed on vinyl records, it found admirers and imitators throughout East, West and Central Africa, and in much of southern African as well. With Congolese-born ethnomusicologist and author Kazadi wa Mukuna and arts educator and community scholar Lubangi Muniania as guides, this Hip Deep program will delve into the untold stories and messages disguised within the lyrics of Congolese songs.